All The Ways Fleas Cause Problems in Your Baton Rouge Home
March 15, 2021
Has your cat been scratching her nose? Is your dog rolling around on his back? If so, you may be dealing with a dreaded case of fleas. In that case, you're likely wondering how these persnickety pests made it into your home and what you can do to get rid of them.
How Can I Tell If There Are Fleas In My Home?
Fleas are tiny insects that feed on mammal blood, including humans. All fleas are similar in appearance with wingless black-to-reddish-black, side-to-side flat bodies and long hind legs for jumping, their primary means of locomotion.
Fleas flourish in warm and humid settings with an ideal living temperature of 75 degrees F. Winter’s cooler weather does not mean flea activity goes away, it just slows down. During winter, your warm home offers a welcoming stable environment for flea activity. Fleas may bite people, but your dog or cat is their favorite host. Fleas love the dark and moist environment of animal fur.
Fleabites Are No Fun
Though fleas enjoy feasting on your pets, if they have the chance, they will bite humans too. Fleabites usually show up on a person's lower legs and/or feet as red spots surrounded by red halos, and they itch like crazy. Some people may develop a severe allergic reaction to fleabites resulting in anaphylaxis. If you or your family members experience a rash or hives, shortness of breath, or swelling of the face, hands, mouth and lips, seek medical attention immediately.
Aside from their bites, fleas also spread a host of diseases to humans including:
- Bubonic plague. Today plague is essentially extinct, but the United States still sees between one and seventeen cases of this disease each year, typically in Southwestern states. If you or your animals do come into close contact with wild animals and their fleas, check for fleas.
- Murine typhus. This is a rare disease in North America, but the CDC gets a few cases reported each year, mostly originating in southwestern states.
- Tularemia. This occurs naturally in many parts of the United States. Use care and wear gloves when handling sick or dead animals.
- General Infection. A flea bite may become infected. In some cases, fleabites carry diseases such as flea-borne spotted fever, typhus, and cat scratch fever.
Where Do Fleas Come From?
Though fleas mostly hitchhike indoors on your pets, they likely originate from wildlife in your yard. Fleas are found on common wildlife pests such as birds, raccoons, rodents, and rabbits. Your home can be infected by the wild or domestic animals that frolic around your yard when they deposit flea eggs that grow into adults. So even if your pets have not been in direct contact with other animals, your pets still offer the newly hatched crop of fleas a source of food and a good place to raise a family.
Preventing Flea Infestations Outside Of Your Baton Rouge Home
Though there are steps you can take to reduce wildlife in your yard, it's best to facilitate flea control by taking extra precautions with your pets.
- Brush your pet’s coat to reduce the number of pests or shave your pet for the summer.
- Wash all your pet items in hot water weekly to kill flea eggs and larvae.
- Vacuuming frequently will help to remove eggs, larva, and live fleas.
- Treat your pets with anti-flea medication.
- Treat your car the same as your home or business if your pet rides with you.
Eradicating fleas is a challenge. If you need help with flea prevention or assistance in treating an infestation of your home or business, contact the professionals at Pelican Pest Control.